Category Archives: Misc.

things that might not fit in a category.

writing about photography

in a recent interview with on the onwardphoto blog, jorg colberg spoke about the importance of writing about photography.   i couldn’t agree more with what he said.  often times people who make photographs have trouble talking about them.

i am guilty too … it is HARD to write about photography, but with a little practice it gets a little easier.

i have a series of portraits i have been making since i was 19 ( more than half my life ).  the project began years before and i didn’t even know it … when i was reading studds turkel’s book “working”, a book about people talking about what they do for work …  i began my project by cold calling businesses and asking if i could photograph people who worked there.  i was a fly on the wall, sometimes, other times i would have conversations with the subject to learn about what it was they were doing, and i would photograph where they worked too.  i documented  people that worked in slaugherhouses, were gravediggers, machineshop operators, mechanics, factory workers, butchers …  people from all walks of life.  i enjoyed talking with these strangers and learning about who they were, and creating almost a story that surrounded each portrait i took.  eventually i began photographing people on the streets as i wandered their neighborhood with a camera,  or where they had a late night snack, or breakfast.  i continued with these portraits, even letting them lead me into paying jobs photographing people for magazines and newspapers, and i never stopped interviewing my subjects to learn a little bit about them.

when i worked for a eileen mcclure, she told me tricks she would do to get her subjects to loosen up a little bit.  she only had seconds to do this seeing she had appointments every 20 minutes all day long …  and she said she had it easy because she was a little old lady, and people don’t feel threatened by little old ladies.  my trick ended up being just having a conversation, and because i was no longer a guy with a camera but someone else.  over the years i think the project has taken a different shape, and really tells more about me than it does my subjects.  if i wrote about the project,  i would write about who my subjects were, and how meeting them changed how i look at portrait photography in general, but how i have learned that people are pretty much the same, whether they are rich, poor, a corporate titan, leader of a state, or someone sitting on their porch, who didn’t remember who i was or who she was a few weeks later when i returned with a print.

i couldn’t agree more with the idea that one should be able to write something, anything, about what it is they do or did with their camera.


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recent work

i haven’t posted here in a few months for a variety of reasons.  but i am here again with a handful of photographs … as seen in a few other of my blog posts, i have been having fun making trichromes.

they are FULL color photographs made using separation filters ( RBG ) and panchromatic black and white film.  about 30 years ago my uncle ( a professional photographer in western massachusetts ) told me about making trichromes  but i didn’t have access to a color darkroom, so i never made any.  NOW, since i am able to compile the images using photoshop i am making them often.  i even have a polaroid 500 portrait camera and i have started to make portraits and stereo tri chromes.

here are a few images ..  they don’t have any hidden meaning, they are just fun. oh, in case you wanted to know the vital statistics …  they were all taken with expired black and white film which was hand processed in a combination of coffee based developer ( sumatranol ) and ansco 130.


if you cross your eyes the image is 3D


if you cross your eyes the 3D image appears




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silver magnets for sale

i sell these on apug, the large format page site and to anyone who is interested before i started distributing these i worked for a company that sold silver recovery systems..

this was i the 1980s ..  they were very expensive.

i was amazed at how people just dump their fixer down the drain which is bad for the environment and bad for their pipes, and septic system so i looked into a cost effective way to reclaiming the silver.  the silver magnet is a small device that electro plates the silver onto a cathode.  it is the small version of the big 500$ machines i used to sell .  it works with spent fixer, not one shot fixer, or stuff that “hypo check” turns cloudy.  do a clip test, when it takes 2x the original clear time with fresh fixer it is time to use the magnet.  that mean when you have new-fresh fixer take a film leader and in room light see how long it takes to turn that film clip to see through plastic base if it takes 30 seconds ..  then when it takes 60 seconds to do the same thing.  i suggest people use 2 fixer baths both for film and for paper.  do the clip test with the film … double that clear time and split it between 2 baths  ( 30 seconds  … so 30 seconds each bath )  for paper, well, fix for what the manufacturer says to fix for (split it between 2 baths), but use the clip test to determine when the fix is exhausted with silver … you take your spent fixer put it into a plastic container ( those dollar store shoe boxes are great )  and you will see the lights turn on, and when it is in the fix 1 turns off.  when the 2nd light turns on again take the magnet out and your fixer will still have silver in it but not nearly as much as it did before.  i also sell trickle tanks that will remove nearly all the silver …  it uses a media tank full of steel wool and the spent fixer exchanges silver ions with iron ions … it can get you down to between 5 and 2 or below parts  / million.

oh, when the magnet is full of silver you mail it to a refiner and they send you a check for the silver.  they charge a fee, and  the silver on it is about 90% pure.  depending on who it is sent to, refining fees vary.  in the states if you mailed thr magnet to the refiner they might give you $1/troy ounce ans 1,75(90%) of the weight of the silver mailed to them. refiners in canada may give you about 68-69% for the weight of the cathode (in troy oz) and in england it is a bit different .. you will be charged a refining fee as well as the sample fee  (tests the silver for its purity). using the magnet will not make you rich, but it will help you reduce the silver you put into the waste stream



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not far

you don’t need to travel far to find interesting photographs




weeds by the cove



click on image

cross your eyes the middle image will be 3-D

Also posted in technique and style, using vintage equipment Tagged |

another batch of tri chromes

making trichrome color images is a bit addictive

it is so easy and fun with a digital camera, it almost makes you feel guilty how much effort
is spent when film or plates are used.  and it makes you feel even more guilty and in awe of
people who spent a long long time mastering this process with color paper, or making dye transfer or gum prints.

i have film i exposed ( haven’t processed it yet, shame on me ! ) which will be almost as easy as using a digital camera
instead of files that are immediate, i’ll have film that i expose with the colored filters.
that’s about as difficult as i will let this game get, i won’t be making contact prints onto color paper,
or matrix sheets &c, i’ll just scan the negatives, get files to merge in photoshop which will take barely longer than it takes to scan the
files with a scanner.

the last few uploads were made in bright sunlight, or kitchen light ( bulb )
i took some portraits but since my subject wasn’t nailed+taped to the chair and the expression glued on their face
and it takes 3 separate exposures, well, my results were a bit sub-par …  i have some ideas how to fix that …

these uploads are soft afternoon overcast light. iron chair, wooden stiles hanging plant+box





Also posted in film development technique, photographs, technique and style Tagged , , |

tri color again, this time coffee

can’t not take photographs of my favorite drink








all gone

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a few more tri color images, kind of addictive

went to the lighting supply guy today

east coast lighting, nice folks !


i got some gels to match the swatchbook numbers i had
and took a few more b/w images with my digital camera

i tried a few color ones as well, converted to greyscale but they didn’t work …


just a little fun before i start using film

cup of pencils


with coffee


Also posted in film development technique, photographs, technique and style Tagged , , , |

Tri Color

decided to make my first tri color image today

this was made using a digital camera

but i plan on using up my film making color images from black and white

its a lot of fun

there are handfuls of tutorials on the web that show this

the main trick is the images have to be exactly the same size and align perfectly  or it will look
a bad  …


you take each image with a red green and blue filter
and drop them into a color file’s channel’s
and after each negative is dropped on ontop of the other

you have something that looks like this

( or better, this was taken with filters that didn’t cover the lens, of a terribly backlit subject )

plants on shelf


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the plates were still wet

the plates were sill wet, so i made some sumatranol 130 into a reversal developer / monobath
and made some photograms.  they are still hanging too ( all rc paper ) and ill scan some tomorrow …

the recipe i got from the cyclopeida was just an extremely weak developer.

it wasn’t anything fancy, just a weak, washing soda ( sodium carbonate ) rick developer and without much of a developing agent
not sure how it was supposed to develop anything seeing it wouldn’t really turn a sheet of paper black in room light,

more to follow as the adventure continues ..

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using a cyclone

from time to time i get asked what kind of camera i have or use or like or like to use or …

my current favorite is a cyclone #3.  it is what is called a magazine camera, or a falling plate camera.
if you google “cyclone camera” you will probably find an advertisement for it over on flickr.  i don’ t know the guy
so i’d rather not hot link to his site.  it was a box camera that had 2 speeds, as they all seemed to have, I ( instantaneous) and T ( time )
the I speed was maybe 1/50th S  F maybe 13?   i don’t know they were pretty simple and are still a lot of fun!
basically the way they work is there are sleeves that sheets of glass with emulsion used to go in, they are called septums.
my #3 has 8 septums, i think it is missing 4 of them but they don’t appear without a camera, and i really don’t need ANOTHER camera.
you can put a piece of black cardboard in the septum and then either film or paper if you coat your own glass plates like me, you can load them without the cardboard
and WITH glass plates.  the slide in vertically one after another, then the blank and then the back which has a big bedspring to apply pressure to the septums.
you make your exposures and jiggle the knob and each exposed septum FALLS to the floor.  thats where the name comes from.
i used to buy smaller formats  of this style of camera.  they came in all sorts of different sizes, landscape shapes portrait shapes, ( long and skinny ) and
sometimes had elaborate shutter controls and apertures.  the #3 is pretty simple … i aperture and 1 shutter speed and T …i also have a #5 that i recently started to use
it has 3 apertures, and the exposed plates can be retrieved from the bottom of the camera  …  it is smaller too, sort of dainty if you can call a wooden box camera dainty.

anyways i started using the #3 a year or 2 ago and really enjoy how it works.  the lens has a sweet spot, i think, at around infinity ( joke )
its big and clunky and seems to work fine, except once in a while the septums get jammed and i have to wack the camera …  and people sometimes stare.
funny thing is, no one asks me anything when im using the camera.

i tend to coat paper myself using bottled emulsion.  i use liquid light a lot, and coat paper 2 coats.  the last batch i did was in the spring, and i just started to use it.
they turned out OK, sort of.  i also am using 10year old polymax fb paper.  its probably way older than 10 years old seeing it was all given to me about 13 years ago by a friend in portsmouth nh.  it was thelast single weight paper made by kodak, and it seems to hold up well.  even if it didn’t i would use it seeing it is kind of foggy, and less contrast is always good when shooting paper negatives.


burning bush behind


i also went into providence …


i went again today, but the paper is still drying on the line ..

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pine branches and needles

today i was cleaning up the darkroom a little bit

actually, i was looking for an unprocessed paper negative ( eventually found it )
and while i was putting things away, i came across a pine branch.  got it in the spring
never got a chance to use it until toda …

lumen print with hand coated paepr

this is a series of crops from the scanned original


pine branch lumen print, 7hours


Also posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, photographs, technique and style Tagged , , , |

its been a loooong summer

i haven’t posted here since the spring  …  and since the summer is over

and the cooler weather is here it will make it easier for me to do some more work and post it here.

i was in france over the summer and made some retina prints while i was there.  not many, 2 of them.
i also exposed a handful of film and a few memory cards of digital  – stuff. while i used the digital camera
i had plans to create paper negatives and either silver prints or cyanotypes with some of the images i made.

my fall will be busy, things to do besides photography, but i will try to make something every day  ( meals don’t count 🙂  )


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retina prints

for a few years now  have been making contact prints, and camera prints with just photo paper.

it started off as an experiment because i saw how easy it was to make cyanotypes, and i saw some absolutely
beautiful lumenprints by a photographer named bruce over on apug.  he made contact prints with plants and a heavy piece of glass on top
it was left in the sun, and the plant sort of bakes into the paper.  the print appears like a photogram, and through coaxing and toning
the image can be preserved.  they are something to behold …  i took a different route ..

instead of putting plants under glass, i just leave them on top, i don’t mind air spaces and depth and shadow.  i also put negatives on the
paper ( regular old photo paper ) and glass on top or in a contact frame  …  and in both cases images appear, but they can’t be preserved
seeing the plants or film didn’t bake into the paper …  so i scan the images to preserve them.  i also use cameras to do this sort of thing to.
instead of a small pinhole and leaving the camera open for 6 months i use a regular lens and leave the shutter open from anywhere from 30mins
to 8 hours.  again the images can’t be fixed, so i scan them.

today i loaded my graflex 3A postcard slr with a sheet of 5×7 paper and left the shutter open for about 30mins.

plants and windowbox


i inverted it to make it a positive image


windowbox and weeds


and a little while ago i added colors to the negative

weeds and windowbox




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stack of dry plates

i have a stack of dry plates…

some were scanned, some were left out in the sun to make cyanotypes or lumen prints and some are being printed in the darkroom.
a few days ago at 9-30 i went into the darkroom and began making contact prints.  i stopped at about 1-30 to get to a pre-ordained appointment.

some of the prints i painted with watercolors, some i left as is ..


printed dry plate



printed dry plate


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4 glass plates … then 4 paper prints

the other day i processed a handful of glass plates.

i scanned them &c


photograms/ cameraless



yesterday i decided to make contact prints of the glass images.
they were thin so it took a little coaxing but they came out OK …


ilford paper

glass negatives contact prints


im getting more glass today …  i will probably coat them sooner rather than later.


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